Run Outlook 2021 as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp

How to Run Microsoft Outlook 2021 as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp

Start Outlook 2021 automatically when your computer boots and keep it running unattended, to process your email in the background.

Microsoft Outlook 2021 is the 2021 edition of the world's most popular information manager, calendaring and email client software.

Even though Outlook was built for normal desktop use, the application features a sophisticated automation layer that can drive its internal components in the background, without direct user interaction. Note, however:

Microsoft cautions against running any program in its Office suite as a Windows Service.

Having said that though, the most notable problems arise when running in the LocalSystem account — which has not been configured to run Outlook. And AlwaysUp can get around many of those issues.

Nevertheless, please be sure to thoroughly test your setup to ensure that Outlook can do everything you expect when it's running as a service with AlwaysUp.

To configure Outlook 2021 as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp:

  1. Install Outlook 2021, if necessary. Please ensure that the program can send/receive email and do everything you need it to do.

    We installed Outlook 2021 Version 2035 (June 2023) for this tutorial:

    Outlook 2021 Version 2035

  2. Download and install AlwaysUp, if necessary.

  3. Start AlwaysUp.

  4. Select Application > Add to open the Add Application window:

    Add Application

  5. On the General tab:

    • In the Application field, enter the full path to the Outlook executable, Outlook.exe. If you installed Office/Outlook 2021 in the default location, this will be:

      C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\OUTLOOK.EXE

    • In the Start the application field, select Automatically, but shortly after the computer boots. That instructs AlwaysUp to launch Outlook about 2-3 minutes after your computer boots — to give all important/supporting services a chance to spin up and be ready.

    • And in the Name field, enter the name that you will call the application in AlwaysUp. We have used Outlook 2021 but you can specify almost anything you like.

    Outlook 2021 Windows Service: General Tab

  6. Click over to the Logon tab and enter the username and password of the Windows account in which you installed and configured Office/Outlook — probably the account you're logged in to right now.

    It is imperative that Outlook 2021 runs in the correct Windows account so that it can find your settings!

    Don't enter your Office 365 account information here. Enter the account for your computer:

    Outlook 2021 Windows Service: Logon Tab

  7. Next, move to the Startup tab.

    • Check the Ensure that the Windows Networking components have started box. That tells AlwaysUp to start Outlook only after the operating system's TCP/IP networking components are up.

    • We also recommend checking the Stop all copies of the application running on this computer box and the two options below it. Those options will ensure that another copy of Outlook running in your Windows account won't prevent the instance launched by AlwaysUp from starting properly.

    Outlook 2021 Windows Service: Startup Tab

  8. We are now done configuring AlwaysUp so click the Save button. In a couple of seconds, an application called Outlook 2021 will show up in the AlwaysUp window. It won't be running yet:

    Outlook 2021 Windows Service: Created

  9. To start Outlook, choose Application > Start "Outlook 2021". In a few seconds, the application's state should transition to "Running" and Outlook will be working in the background:

    Outlook 2021 running as a Service with AlwaysUp

    Click the green circle in the State column to reveal important details of the running Outlook.exe process:

    Outlook 2021 Windows Service: Running Information

    Note that Outlook will be running in the Isolated Session 0. Choose Application > Restart "Outlook 2021" in this Session if you wish to restart Outlook visibly on your desktop.

  10. That's it! Next time your computer boots, Outlook 2021 will start up immediately, before anyone logs on. We encourage you to edit the Outlook entry in AlwaysUp and check out the many other settings that may be appropriate for your environment. For example, send an email if Outlook crashes, boost the process's priority to give it more CPU, restart regularly to cure memory leaks, and much more.

Outlook 2021 not working properly as a Windows Service?

  • Consult the AlwaysUp Troubleshooter — our online tool that can help you resolve the most common problems encountered when running an application as a Windows Service.

  • From AlwaysUp, select Application > Report Activity > Today to bring up an HTML report detailing the interaction between AlwaysUp and Outlook. The AlwaysUp Event Log Messages page explains the messages that may appear.

  • Browse the AlwaysUp FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions and troubleshooting tips.

  • Contact us and we'll be happy to help!

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